CH25 Development Affecting Non-Scheduled Remains Policy
In assessing development proposals liable to affect areas known or suspected to contain important un-scheduled archaeological remains, the Local Planning Authority will in particular consider:
(i) the potential importance of the archaeological interest of the site, in terms of the rarity, condition and estimated age of the remains; and
(ii) whether it is desirable or practical, owing to the fragility or importance of the remains, to preserve those remains in-situ.
In order to satisfy these requirements, the Local Planning Authority will require applicants to provide a desk-based evaluation of existing information related to the archaeological interest of the site.
Where a desk-based study indicates that important remains may exist on the site, the applicant will be expected to arrange for an archaeological field evaluation, in order to define the character and extent of the remains and to identify the appropriateness of potential options for minimising or avoiding damage were development to take place.
These evaluations must be undertaken by an accredited archaeological organisation or archaeologist.
Where archaeological remains are of minor importance or it is not considered necessary to preserve them in-situ, the Local Planning Authority will grant planning permission, subject to the excavation and recording of the remains before construction commences.
Where archaeological remains are of significant importance and can only be appropriately preserved in-situ, the Local Planning Authority will assess the impact of the proposals, in terms of the potential disturbance to be caused to those remains and their setting. Where those remains cannot be accommodated within the layout of a revised development scheme or where it is not appropriate to do so, planning permission will be refused.
Reasoned justification :
11.73 Policy CH25 sets out the general approach the Local Planning Authority will adopt in regard to the control of development and the protection of archaeological remains. It seeks to ensure that the archaeological interest a site may possess is properly taken into account where important remains are known to exist or where there is good reason to believe that important remains exist.
11.74 It is Government policy that nationally important remains, whether scheduled or not, together with their setting, should normally be preserved in-situ. However, because of the essentially invisible and undetermined nature of many archaeological sites, the justification for preservation should be assessed on the individual merits of each case. Policy CH25, therefore, provides for an assessment of the potential archaeological value of a site to be undertaken before the decision to allow development is made.
11.75 All planning applications received by the Local Planning Authority are routinely reviewed for their archaeological implications. Applicants will, therefore, be informed, as soon as possible, if their proposals are likely to affect a known or presumed archaeological site. However, in order to avoid unnecessary delay and abortive design work, prospective applicants are strongly advised to seek to establish the archaeological importance of their land at the earliest possible stage.
11.76 The archaeological status of land in Wirral can best be established by reference to the Archaeological Sites and Monuments Record for Merseyside which contains a constantly maintained and updated database of all known archaeological sites throughout the Borough. It is currently held by Liverpool Museum, National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside and is available for public inspection, by appointment with the Merseyside SMR Officer.
11.77 The assessment procedure, set out under Policy CH25, will only be required where the proposals are likely to affect important archaeological remains. It may take two forms. The first is a desk-study in order to review existing published information related to the archaeological interest of the site. This should start with the relevant entries within the Sites and Monuments Record for Merseyside. Where necessary, and for the purpose of clarification, a field assessment, involving limited ground survey methods such as small scale trial trenching, should also be undertaken. This should enable a reliable estimate to be made of the intrinsic value of the remains and their likely condition and vulnerability to disturbance. It should also allow for a realistic assessment to be made of the need for preservation, including options for mitigating the effects of the development proposed.
11.78 When granting planning permission under Policy CH25, the Local Planning Authority will normally require mitigating measures to be undertaken in order to avoid disturbance to archaeological remains. These may involve the re-siting or re-design of development proposals or the use of suitable alternative methods for the construction of foundations. However, Policy CH25 specifically provides, where the case for physical preservation in-situ is overwhelming and can be verified by a competent archaeological consultant, for planning permission to be refused. This will particularly be the case where the measures undertaken to safeguard archaeological remains are inadequate or where the setting of important remains would be severely compromised.
11.79 Further advice with regard to un-scheduled archaeological remains is contained within Supplementary Planning Guidance Note 38.